Cell Phones Can Increase Distress Level

Blurrying work-leisure boundaries,
especially for women: cell phones
© PixelQuelle.de

For both men and women, the authors say, cell phones allow job worries to spill over into home life. But only women also experience the opposite effect - the spillover of home concerns into their work life. For women, both work and family worries and responsibilities affected their levels of distress and family satisfaction. The findings suggest that, although technology may make everyone more accessible, it does so with negative consequences.

The authors interviewed working couples over two time periods, 1998-1999 and 2000-2001. Use of cell phones and pagers in that two-year time period decreased family satisfaction and increased distress, and negative work-to-family (for men and women) and family-to-work (for women) spillover.

The author measured the participants' psychological distress; she asked them to state how often in the past month they felt feelings ranging from "in good spirits" to "everything was an effort." Participants were also asked questions such as whether they could turn to their family for help and if they were satisfied with the support they receive.

"The question of 'blurred boundaries' may become an irrelevant one for the next generation of workers, spouses, and parents because they cannot imagine life any other way," the author states. "Even so, worries about the implications for technology users are not likely to disappear."

MEDICA.de; Source: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.